Game two will be a tough one for the Rockies to forget. If you had told Clint Hurdle that his staff would hold the Red Sox to two runs, he would have really liked his chances. Colorado’s pitchers were good, but Schilling didn’t give up the big hit, and Okajima and Papelbon were unhittable. I still think that the Rockies have a real chance of winning two games back home, but if they want to win the series, they need to win at least one in Boston. Game two might turn out to have been their best chance.
Now, on to football. As we close in on the halfway point of the season, I think the best team in the NFC is the Giants. Being a Cowboy fan, that really hurts me to say it, but it seems to me that they have all the essentials: a ferocious pass rush, a solid running game, a competent quarterback, and multiple receiving weapons. The only things I don’t like are their kicker and their coach. The kicker is young and shaky. The coach is old and incorrigible. As the season wears on Coughlin has traditionally worn on his teams, but this team may be too talented for that to be a problem.
As we go on to my picks, I stand 18-16 on the season. It’s time to take off! I’ve got ten gems this week. A top ten list if you will. I can smell a 7-3 card!
NY Giants – 9½ over MIAMI:
The Giants, as I mentioned, are rolling. I know that they’ haven’t been beating great teams, but the Dolphins are the opposite of great. Add to the Fish’s 0-7 record the loss or running back Ronnie Brown and this team is dismal. Too many weapons for the G’Men and not a lot of anything in Dolphin land.
CINCINNATI/Pittsburgh over 48:
The Bengals can make any game high scoring, and the Steelers are not the rugged Steelers of old. They don’t pound the ball. They throw it….a lot. And after watching Jay Cutler pick them apart, I think a desperate Bengals team will make some big plays as well. Also, the Steelers have struggled on the road. I think both teams easily make it into the twenties. Are you telling me that somebody isn’t going to score over thirty? I think this one goes over 60.
Indy/CAROLINA under 44½:
The Colts defense is much better than it is given credit for. They also play that ultra deep zone which forces short passes and all but eliminates big plays. On offense, the Colts are still the Colts, but outside, on grass, I think they lack the explosiveness that they have on turf. The other thing is that Tony Dungy is a really nice guy. If he gets ahead he’ll salt the game away. If the Colts have a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter, he’ll run the ball eight times in a row. And Vinny is quarterbacking the Panthers. I know that he beat Arizona a couple of weeks back, but come on. I can’t believe that he will be any better than decent.
Oakland +7½ over TENNESSEE:
The Raiders are 2-4 but they have held a fourth-quarter lead at some point in five out of their six games. Last week the Titans stole a win that was first stolen from them, and maybe they’re feeling a little two good about themselves right now. More importantly than that, do they have too much confidence in Kerry Collins? If he plays I think he’ll help the Raiders keep it close. If Vince Young plays, I’m banking on the fact that he’s not 100 percent.
MINNESOTA +1 over Phily:
The Eagles stink. How many weeks in a row do they have to play terribly for people to realize this? McNabb is something like 3-11 in his last fourteen starts (That might not be exact, but whatever the numbers are they’re bad.) The Vikings might not be all that good, but they’ve played everyone tough. Why they’re a dog here is beyond me.
TAMPA –4 over Jacksonville:
This one’s simple. Jacksonville has a back-up quarterback named Quinn Gray who will make his first start on the road against a pretty good defense. After seeing his relief performance on Monday night, Mister Gray will have to have an out of body experience to get this offense going. On the other side, Tampa is not bad. And they are 3-0 at home.
WASHINGTON +16½ over New England:
Three words: look ahead week.
MINNESOTA/Phily under 37½:
I talk about this every week. The Eagles can’t score but can play defense. Now they are playing against a team that can’t score but can play defense. I know that 37 ½ may seem like a low number but five of the Eagles first six games have been under 37 ½. And now that the Viking can run the ball….this one may be 10-6.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL BONUS PICKS!!!!!!!!
PENN STATE +3½ over Ohio State:
I know that I stay away from college football, but I have to lend my local expertise to this one. Penn State, at night, is one of the toughest places to play in the country. It may not be Duke/Carolina or even Ohio State/Michigan, but the Penn State fans have had this one circled on the calendar for two years, and there’ll be 110,000 of them in attendance. Penn State has played well at home, and Ohio State hasn’t really played anyone unless you count their win at Washington as a big win. Also, Ohio State is two and five in their last seven trips to Happy Valley. And the fact that it’s not 3 points, but 3 ½ really makes this a game to take.
PENN STATE/Ohio State under 39½:
There will not be many big plays. There will not be a lot of trickainery. Just two teams who have good defenses keeping their offenses close to the vest. Final score 16-13 somebody, and I don’t really care who.
Hopefully there will be much cheering from your living room and even more cheering in Colorado. Good luck!